Forget what Mike and Dave need. If you need a blast of mad-raunchy summer fun then this baby comes damn close to filling the bill. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates has the jumpy exuberance of a puppy that won’t stop humping your leg. It’s a bummer that the jokes don’t land often enough, especially in the final third when the tone takes a turn for the tame. WTF!?!
Given the idiot title, you may be surprised that the story has roots in the factual. Mike and Dave Stangle really are party-hard brothers from upstate New York who took an ad on Craigslist to find two “nice girls” to take to a cousin’s wedding. They appeared on The Wendy Williams Show and even wrote a 2015 memoir. Hollywood takes that premise and runs with it. Adam DeVine, of the goofy grin and two Pitch Perfect movies, plays the bubble-brained Mike. And Zac Efron, of the cut abs and two Neighbors movies, plays the studly Dave. In the first of the film’s flights from reality, it’s not a cousin getting married but the boys’ younger sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard). She wants her horny bros to bring decent dates to her destination wedding in Hawaii. And before you can say millennial Wedding Crashers, we’re off.
Devine and Efron, who’s finding a nice comic groove these days, let it all hang out, sometimes literally. But the best twist in the movie is that their dates steal the show. Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) can out-gross the guys without losing a fake eyelash. To snag a free trip to Honolulu, these two boozy, perpetually stoned waitresses prove hilariously adept at pretending to be good girls. Kendrick has a ball breaking type by playing a loose cannon. And Plaza, the film’s MYP, is killer funny, using her delicious deadpan to eviscerate every trace of rampant male ego.
It’s good news that the four actors are so in sync because the script by Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, who did better with both Neighbors movies, comes dangerously close to running aground from running around in crushingly repetitive circles. Luckily, TV director Jake Szymanski, in his feature debut, shows a knack for shaping a comic sequence, such as an outing for the foursome on the Hawaiian turf where Jurassic Park was filmed. What ultimately spoils this Mike and Dave party is letting the jokes go from crude to cruder without giving us anything beyond raunch to remember.